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New Hampshire Arrest Records: How to Find Arrest Records in New Hampshire

New Hampshire Arrest Records: How to Find Arrest Records in New Hampshire
September 12, 2022

New Hampshire is a densely populated state in the US with a population of about 1.36 million. The state is recognized as the 19th state with the highest arrest rate in the US. Well-documented records of the arrests are kept and maintained by state law enforcement agencies. 


An arrest record includes details on a person whom the police have detained. Law enforcement agencies on municipal and state levels collect records on arrests, which are used for many things, especially for keeping track of those with a history of criminal activity.


Are Arrest Records Made Public in New Hampshire?


Following the national Freedom of Information Act of 1967 that provides access to public records, New Hampshire upholds the right of the public to have access to arrest records in the state. 

 

The state also has a statute that guides arrest records' access or distribution. According to the statute, unless the court of law seals an arrest record, such record is available for public viewing.

handcuffs on an illustration of the New Hampshire flag


There are several reasons why the court might seal an arrest record. In New Hampshire, an individual can petition the court to seal their arrest record and become unavailable to the public if granted. In spite of this, sealed records are still available to law enforcement agencies and specific organizations. 


How to Find Arrest Records in New Hampshire?


The law enforcement department in charge of an arrest, generally a neighborhood police station or county sheriff's office, often maintains arrest records. The records can be stored in circuit courts or state government organizations' archives.


The New Hampshire State Police Justice Information Bureau Criminal Records Unit is responsible for maintaining the state's central criminal history records database. There are two main ways of obtaining arrest records in New Hampshire.

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New Hampshire State Police/Department of Corrections 


One way to access arrest records in the state is by contacting the state police since they manage most of the arrest cases in the state. You can contact the state police or the Department of Corrections via phone or the physical address. 

 

The state police or the Department of Corrections do not charge any fee for accessing arrest records, although you may be charged if you request access to police reports.


You need to have complete information about the individual before requesting an arrest record. Such information includes the name, date of birth, and other information that can help narrow the search. 

a man being arrested and handcuffed


New Hampshire Criminal Records Unit


You can equally gain access to arrest records in New Hampshire by requesting from the criminal records unit. There are two ways to do this: you request in person or via mail. 


Whichever method you are using, you will need to complete a criminal record release authorization form. For physical requests, you must fill out section one of the form and submit it within working hours. 

 

For mail requests, you have to fill section two of the same form and mail it to the criminal records unit. In addition, both methods require you to pay a search fee of $25 before the requests are granted.


Can I Access the Arrest Records Online?


The state of New Hampshire does not have an effective online search tool, making searching or obtaining information about arrest records more difficult. 

 

Therefore, it is best to use either of the two methods described earlier to conduct your search. However, some third-party search websites still provide information on arrest records of people in New Hampshire.

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Who Can Access Arrest Records in New Hampshire?


Once the due process of authorization is followed, anyone can access the arrest record in the state. Although there are situations whereby arrest records can be barred from public viewing, this often occurs when a court order has sealed an arrest record. 

 

Sealed arrest records can be reopened if there are legal needs for them. Also, most state agencies and specific private organizations still have access to sealed arrest records.


Exceptions to Accessing Arrest Records in New Hampshire


The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the United States also has some exceptions that prevent public viewing of some records. Some of the exceptions whereby arrest records are made unavailable include.


* The information contains national security
* Federal law prevents the release
* The record contains privileged or confidential information
* The information can reveal a trade secret or financial information 
* The information can lead to danger to another person


Conclusion  


Arrest records are considered part of public records that should be made readily accessible even in New Hampshire. The records are available through either the state police office or the criminal record unit by filing the authorization form and paying the stipulated fee of $25. 

 

Few exceptions can make arrest records unavailable for public viewing, especially when the court seals such records.

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